We have just made our way through the first round of birthdays in our family for the year. My brother and I somehow had both our kids’ birthdays land only a couple of weeks apart, which means lots of parties and lots of gift giving, all at once. Shopping for children is…exhausting…to say the least, but it really depends on their age group. Tech, toys and video games are available in so many shapes and sizes, for literally any age, so what are some of the best gifts for kids? Let’s break it down.
We can start young: the best gifts for infants and toddlers. Chances are, anything that lights up is the right way to go. The parents may despise you, because those flashy toys are usually the noisy ones, but they are also fan favourites for kids of that age range. Obviously, we aren’t picking up brand-new tablets for newborns, but once they get into the two to three-year-old range, it turns out kids can use them better than most adults can.
My favourite geeky gift, and one of the best gifts for kids in this age range, is this Fisher Price controller. Lights, sounds, and holding a controller just like mom and dad. What can go wrong? It is a tad annoying, but my daughter loves it. If you are dead set on going the clothes route—lets face it, they’re tiny and adorable—keep in mind they grow out of them faster than you can buy them. So if you happen to find a really adorable Batman onesie, or maybe consider buying a size up, so they get the most they can out of the gear.
“The best gifts for ages three to five were toys.”
My son just turned seven, so we just finished up the three to sixish age range, and even in the last year I can see how much his interests have changed. The best gifts for ages three to five were toys. They were the best things in the world for the last four years. Some of his favourites were the 12-inch superheroes (Marvel and DC) you can find for around $10 at Walmart. They take up quite a bit of space, but boy can they take a beating…and they did.
This age group was about things that crash, go fast and battle. Action figures fight and Beyblades crash (still a bit young to master those, but they loved the battle!). Hot Wheels can get some speed. They took over an entire large Ikea drawer, and they remain there collecting dust now. This is also the age we invested in a tablet for our firstborn (see last age group for what happens with your second born).
The new age group I’m learning about now is the seven to ten-year-olds. What are the best gifts for kids between seven and 10? This one is complicated, because they’re in between loving toys and tech. Video games are huge and some of the best gifts for kids, with Fortnite, Roblox and Minecraft taking over our lives. YouTube is the coolest thing in the world, so tablets and smart TVs are sure to be a hit. We actually invested in a new tablet here (that’s three between my kids now, if you’re counting), with more storage because he is taking an interest in making YouTube style videos—video safety is a whole other column.
This is also the age that money and gift cards really become an exciting event. My mother always hated giving out gift cards. She always believed you should have something to open. But the way my son lit up when he saw his birthday gift card was out of this world. You could see the wheels turning with all the possibilities in his mind. He and his dad will be shopping this week! This also extends to games. V-bucks, Robux or whatever other in-game currency they would appreciate is nice, and it helps teach them something about saving and spending.
“What are the best gifts for preteens? Good luck is all I have to say.”
Now, onto the age group that eludes me, the preteens. My niece used to be the easiest one to shop for. She is the oldest of the kids in my family, and I’d say we have a pretty special bond…but now she is as tall as I am, doesn’t really play with toys. Her response when you ask what she wants is usually “I don’t know.” That isn’t a lot of wiggle room. So what do you do when they don’t need anything, and seemingly don’t want anything? What are the best gifts for preteens? Good luck is all I have to say.
Gift cards come into play here too. They may always be one of the best gifts for kids, even if you don’t think they’re all that impressive. Right now, she is 11, learning about money, and loves clothes. I wouldn’t dare buy them for her, but would love to take her shopping—she isn’t mortified by my presence yet. This is also the age group where experiences become just as appreciated as gifts. Going to the movies, dinner at their favourite restaurant, tickets to a concert—these things are always a win.
Tangible, unwrappable gifts are, of course, possible, just a little trickier. I ended up getting her the Fujifilm Instax Link Wide Printer. When I was her age, we loved disposable cameras and my walls were covered with pictures of me and my friends. You can go the route of video games, or something like the Xbox Series S, and even the Nintendo Switch Lite—clearly one of the best gifts for kids right now.
I’m not at the full-blown teenager stage yet, but I’m going to guess it’s the same as preteens, just on hard mode. We may have made it through our winter gift giving, but Easter is on its way, followed by Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and then we are back into our next round of birthdays in this house. But for now, the kids are asleep, the decorations are down, and I have shared all I know with you about the best gifts for kids. Hopefully, not too much will change by your next shopping trip!